New F1 qualifying format gets green light for Australia


The FIA has confirmed the new qualification format for the 2016 Formula One season is set to be used from the opening grand prix in Australia.

The governing body last week revealed its intention to alter qualification to introduce an elimination format for the first race of the season, but - following criticism from participating teams - F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone claimed the changes could not be made until the Spanish Grand Prix.

However, the FIA has revealed that the changes have been unanimously accepted and should be ready for implementation in time for Melbourne.

Under current regulations, qualifying is made up of three sessions, with the five slowest drivers eliminated after Q1 and Q2 before the top 10 vie for pole position in the final 12 minutes.

The new guidelines see the three qualifying sessions remain, but the elimination of the slowest cars will change.

In a 16-minute Q1, all cars will take to the track and, after seven minutes, the car with the slowest time will be eliminated. That process will continue every 90 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag, eliminating seven drivers.

The remaining 15 will progress to Q2 and, once again, the slowest driver will leave the session - this time after six minutes - and drivers will continue to exit until eight remain.

The race for pole position will begin in Q3 - which will last 14 minutes - with the first elimination coming after five minutes until the fastest two are left to battle it out for top spot in the final 90 seconds.